Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Spiritual Deepening Small Groups: How to Start a Small Group in Your Meeting

Photo by Blair Seitz
Religious Education
Want to learn more about the Spiritual Deepening Program and share it with your meeting?  As your meeting considers whether to participate in the Spiritual Deepening Program from Friends General Conference, this page can serve as a guide for sharing information, experiencing Spiritual Deepening activities together, and planning your next steps.
The Meeting Resources page offers step-by-step recommendations for forming Spiritual Deepening small groups.  
If you'd like to lead a discernment session with your monthly or yearly meeting, you'll find talking point, sample activities, and other key information in the Sharing Spiritual Deepening with your Monthly Meeting or Yearly Meeting guide (PDF).


Lead a Sample Spiritual Deepening Activity (or two or three!)

To give people in your meeting a “Taste of Spiritual Deepening,” consider leading one or more of the activities below.  Be sure to ground your time together with worship.

The Good Seed activity is effective and works for smaller groups or a large crowd.  You can pare it down to 15 minutes using just the "Give over thy own willing" quote/song and pen and paper for the art supplies and it still gives a good taste of what the Spiritual Deepening program feels like.  (See PDF below)

Making a Listening Mural offers an opportunity to worship together in a new way and works well as an intergenerational experience. 

Choose one of the Grounding Quotations from the Silence & Expectant Waiting topic and share your reactions using a group processing technique from the How to Use Grounding Quotations guide. Here is an example, using a quotation from an early Friend:

Sample Grounding Exercise: Silence & Expectant Waiting

Therefore, my dear hearts, be faithful every one in your particular measure of God’s gift which he hath given you, and on the invisible wait in silence, and patience, and in obedience to that which opens to the mystery of God, and leads to the invisible God, which no mortal eye can reach unto, or behold.

- Margaret Fell, "Epistle to Friends," 1654, as quoted in Michael Birkel's Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition, 2004.  Public Domain


Choose one line or idea that rings true for you.  Share with a partner an experience you have had that relates to the line/idea.

Next Steps for Bringing Spiritual Deepening to Your Meeting

1. The first step to bringing the Spiritual Deepening program to your meeting is to generate interest and excitement among members, attenders, and newcomers of all ages.  Experience some sample exercises together, distribute the flyer (link below), watch the library tour video, and get a feel for the program.

2.  Form small groups and discern who will be the leader or co-leaders

3.  The leaders register their small group(s), receive training materials and access to the Spiritual Deepening Library, and are invited to participate in an orientation webinar.

4.  Schedule the group sessions and begin meeting.  At the first meeting, the leader will pass around a sign-in sheet to register participants.

Learn more about these steps on the Meeting Resources page.


Accessible and Affordable

The suggested fee for participating in the in-person Spiritual Deepening small group program is $20/person, on a Pay-as-Led basis.  Pay-as-Led means you can pay less than $20 or more than $20 based on your own sense of what you can afford and how well you feel you can support this program for the benefit of others.  This fee registers participants for a small group that will explore exercises and activities on the topic of Silence & Expectant Waiting; The Light, Seed, Christ Working In Us; and Friendly Practices.
The participation fee allows FGC to continue to support, develop, and grow the Spiritual Deepening Program and to make it broadly available over time, with the ultimate goal of increasing the depth of Spirit and the strength of our Quaker communities.


Small Groups Can Start at Any Time.  Sign Up Now!

Once you've decided to form a Spiritual Deepening small group, one person can register the group here:

Interested in Learning More?

Join the Spiritual Deepening mailing list to receive announcements about program updates and opportunities to register for upcoming eRetreats.

Contact us at [email protected]

In a small but meaningful way, this was the beginning of my growing more trusting of the others in the meeting.”

- Spiritual Deepening small group participant